Could the Winner of the Akutagawa Prize be the Next Haruki Murakami?
The Akutagawa Prize is an honorary award named for the famous Japanese author, Ryunosuke Akutagawa. Winners are picked twice a year from a group of new authors. The 2015 winner of the Akutagawa Prize was from the comedy duo PIERCE, Naoki Matayoshi, for his novel “Hibana” (Spark). It’s a remarkable first-time accomplishment, going from entertainer to prize-winner. As of 7/30 it’s reached 1.69 million copies.
This is Matayoshi. He has a naturally quiet nature that has stuck with him since first appearing on Japanese TV. Others around him often said on TV how he’s not fit to be a celebrity. As he slowly became popular as an entertainer, Matayoshi shared on a TV show that he’s loved novels since he was young and that he’s read a great many of them. He also said he was a big fan of Ryunosuke Akutagawa and Osamu Dazai.
And this is “Hibana,” which depicts the main character as the same as the author: a comedian. It’s making bigger and bigger waves around Japan so perhaps this is the 2nd Haruki Murakami? It might soon be translated to other languages.
Until 10 years ago, even people of extraordinary talent would go unrecognized by the world. But in this age of IT, skilled people are being found and often entering center stage. The value of the individual is growing. Matayoshi is the same. He continued doing what he loved while working as an entertainer and now he’s recognized for his talents.
One should not make works to please others but make works to please oneself and cherish those that can empathise with that. That was what I felt through this recent news.